Companies are spending more on data analytics platforms, as well as experts capable of mining internal and external data-sources for insight. But are those companies actually putting those resources into good use? According to new research from Accenture, the answer is “No.” When the firm surveyed 600 executives in the United States and the United Kingdom, it found that 66 percent of the respondents’ companies had recently hired an executive or other high-level officer responsible for data-management strategies and policies. Some 33 percent of those companies also used analytics as a primary predictive tool, up from 12 percent in 2009, and 25 percent indicated that their company data was generating new ideas and opportunities (also a rise from 12 percent in 2009). However, a minority of those surveyed felt that the data generated by their company was relevant to their overall strategy (39 percent, to be exact). Meanwhile, a mere 22 percent rated themselves as “very satisfied” with the business outcomes derived from all those fancy analytics platforms crunching away; some 45 percent admitted their company’s analytics capabilities were either limited or in need of improvement. Around 50 percent said their data was consistent, formatted and complete. A mere 21 percent of respondents indicated their organization used analytics in a very successful way. “Analytics is not yet deeply ingrained into the fabric of most companies as an integrated, enterprise-wide approach,” Narendra Mulani, senior managing director for Accenture Analytics, wrote in a March 5 statement accompanying the data. “For many organizations the journey to achieving true return on investment still lies ahead.” Mulani recommends that businesses “establish disciplined processes” to ensure that everything analytics-related is properly considered and acted upon; from there, companies should figure out a “build, buy, and partner” strategy that works best for obtaining what they need in terms of analytics tools; third, they should “apply technology that ensures data integrity, quality and accessibility.” The Accenture data also suggests that more organizations need to appoint executives responsible for data-management strategies, before actually working out the finer details of an analytics strategy. Despite the hype surrounding Big Data—not to mention data from Gartner and other research firms suggesting that more companies will adopt data-analytics platforms over the next few years—it’s clear that a gap remains between companies’ desires for better data-crunching and their ability to do so effectively.   Image: mtkang/